ron johnson

WI Latino & Community Leaders Speak Out Against Trump’s Racist Attack on Judge Curiel, Continued WI GOP Support for Trump

MILWAUKEE – During a press conference today, Wisconsin Latino leaders spoke out against Donald Trump’s racist attacks against Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel and challenged Sen. Ron Johnson’s decision to hold open the Supreme Court vacancy for Trump to fill.

Responding to Trump’s statements that a federal judge couldn’t be fair based simply on his Mexican-American heritage, Sen. Johnson and House Speaker Paul Ryan criticized Trump, yet the two are backing Trump’s presidential bid and Johnson continues to hold the Supreme Court seat open for Trump to fill by refusing to give fair consideration to Supreme Court nominee Judge Garland.   Ryan continues to ignore the ongoing bigotry of Trump’s campaign by categorizing Trump’s latest racist attacks as “out of left field.”

Key statements:

Wisconsin State House Representative JoCasta Zamarripa:

“As a legislator, I work on issues critical to the community I represent, whether that’s working to combat discrimination, support immigrant families, protect voting rights. Donald Trump stands against everything that we stand for.

“Ron Johnson has said that he won’t support Trump if he “crossed a line.” How is it possible that launching racist attacks against a federal judge doesn’t cross the line? And how can Johnson justify holding open the Supreme Court vacancy for someone who shows such disregard to our courts and the Constitution?”

Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera:

“Trump’s racist comments against Judge Curiel exposes the true character of the man.  He is both a bully and a fraud.  He is a bully because he uses personal attacks and threats to try to get his way, and he is a fraud because he is a swindler through projects like Trump fake University, his string of bankruptcies, and his made-in-China products.

“The failure of Senator Johnson and US Speaker Paul Ryan or Governor Walker to pull their support, is dangerous.  Their own policy proposals are a dressed up version of Trump’s, but Trump’s appeal to growing a white supremacist movement through hate and violence, is a threat that extends beyond an election, and should be aggressively condemned and marginalized.”

Freya Neumann, Citizenship Coordinator at Voces de la Frontera:

“I came to this country almost 40 years ago from Mexico, and I became a naturalized citizen to challenge stereotypes and combat the racism I experienced and witnessed far too often in Milwaukee. Sadly, in 2016, racism has increased because of Trump’s hate campaign.

“I am though so happy to see many people who are becoming US citizens because like me, they understand that they must stand up to racism by education, voting, speaking out, and demonstrating. Shame on our Wisconsin Republican leaders who disagree with Trump’s message but continue to support him as president; for the US constitution, the founding document of this nation, upholds the ideal that all people are created equal.”

Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way:

“We now know that Trump has no problem launching racist attacks against judges, and we know that President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Garland is superbly qualified and has earned significant praise from Democrats and Republicans alike. So why is Ron Johnson holding open the Supreme Court vacancy for a Trump nominee instead of calling for hearings and a vote for Judge Garland?

“It’s time to call the question: Senator Johnson needs to support a fair process for Judge Garland, or else he stands in solidarity with Trump’s racist attacks on our judiciary. He can’t do both.”

For follow-up questions or interviews, please email


Sorry You Missed Sen. Johnson’s Party!

Milwaukee, WI – To celebrate Sen. Johnson’s birthday, Wisconsin activists with People For the American Way, Organizing for Action, Voces de la Frontera, One Wisconsin Now, and Emerge Wisconsin gathered at Sen. Johnson’s Milwaukee office to throw him a birthday party – and send the message that while everyone, even Sen. Johnson, deserves a great birthday party, it’s time for him to end his partisan obstruction and give fair consideration to President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.

Activists tried to deliver Sen. Johnson and his staff a birthday cake with the message, “Happy Birthday Ron Johnson! Now, #DoYourJob” (pictures are below and attached). Unfortunately, Sen. Johnson and his staff didn’t choose to join in the celebration.

PFAW Regional Political Coordinator Scott Foval stated:

“We hoped to celebrate our senator’s birthday with him, but it seems like just as he doesn’t have time to do his job and give fair consideration to Supreme Court nominee Judge Garland, he doesn’t have time to enjoy some delicious cake with his constituents!

“Now that the party’s over, it’s high time for Sen. Johnson to follow the Constitution and push for hearings and a vote for Judge Garland.”

Pictures from today’s birthday party:



Ron Johnson Is Taking His SCOTUS Talking Points Straight From Right-Wing Groups

Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is one of the Republican senators who is under considerable pressure in his home state to break from his party leadership and consider the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

So far, Johnson has toed the party line and says that he supports blocking any nominee to the Supreme Court for the remainder of Obama’s presidency. In defending this position, he has turned to a number of stock talking points cooked up by right-wing groups seeking to keep an Obama nominee off the Supreme Court.

As soon as President Obama announced his nomination of Garland, Johnson turned to the talking point that the conservative Judicial Crisis Network has been promoting since soon after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death left a vacant seat on the Supreme Court.

Johnson’s appeal to let the American people “decide” and give them a “voice” by discounting President Obama’s entire last year in office, comes straight out of the messaging that JCN started hammering in early ads urging obstruction. In JCN’s first ad, a narrator says:

It’s ‘We the People.’ Sometimes the politicians forget that. The Supreme Court has a vacancy and your vote in November is your only voice. Sen. Chuck Grassley agrees: the American people should decide. This isn’t about Republicans or Democrats. It’s about your voice. You choose the next president, the next president chooses the next justice. Call Sen. Chuck Grassley. Thank him for letting the people decide.

Of course, the people already did have a voice in choosing who would pick the next Supreme Court justice when they reelected President Obama for a second four-year term in 2012.

The New York Times reported yesterday on an event in Wisconsin at which Johnson attempted to justify the Senate GOP’s obstructionism by implying that the Constitution’s requirement of “advice and consent” can mean the Senate advising the president not to make any judicial nomination at all:

“Yeah, I am hearing the drumbeat, ‘Do your job! Do your job!’ ” Mr. Johnson said, invoking the Democrats’ battle cry in their quest to get Judge Garland a hearing. “We’re doing our job,” Mr. Johnson declared, to shouts of “yes.”

“Our job as a coequal branch in the nomination process is advise and consent,” he said. “Well, President Obama — surprise — didn’t heed our advice. So now we are doing the second part of that advice and consent: We’re withholding our consent. Completely appropriate.”

This is a talking point that Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, a longtime right-wing player in judicial fights, pioneered very soon after the death of Justice Scalia, when he told televangelist Pat Robertson, “The Senate has a role in this, the Constitution says ‘advice and consent.’ The advice here is, ‘Don’t put up a nominee when you’re only going to be the president, you’re a lame duck and you’re only going to be the president for 11 months.’”

We don’t think that refusing to even consider a Supreme Court nominee is what the founders had in mind when they gave the Senate the power of “advice and consent," which is why the GOP leadership’s decision to have the Senate do absolutely nothing in response to a Supreme Court nomination is unprecedented.

According to the Times article, Johnson has also taken to saying that Garland is “hostile” to the Second Amendment:

“Judge Merrick is hostile to your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms,” Mr. Johnson said in Pewaukee, using the judge’s first name. “So I am doing my job to protect the Second Amendment rights of Wisconsinites.”

Johnson’s use of the word “hostile” is no accident. The phrase “hostile to the Second Amendment” is what right-wing groups have settled on to describe Garland’s utterly benign record on gun rights. That’s the exact phrase that the National Rifle Association has been using in its effort to stir up opposition to Garland’s nomination. The “hostile” term seems to have come from an opposition research package put together by the Judicial Crisis Network, which in turn seems to have borrowed the phrase from a 2007 article in the NRA’s magazine.

We outlined last week why the Second Amendment “hostility” argument is bunk.

Senate Republicans seem to have ceded not only their governing, but the very words that come out of their mouths, to right-wing obstructionist groups.

Another Senate Republican Admits His Party's Supreme Court Blockade Is All About Politics

Just hours after President Obama announced his nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, several Senate Republicans said that they would refuse to even consider Garland’s nomination and repeated their claim that whoever wins the presidential election should be the one to fill the vacancy on the court.

These Republicans continue to justify their obstruction by pointing to a nonexistent tradition and a made-up constitutional principle that the Senate doesn’t vote on nominees to the Supreme Court in election years. They seem to be sticking with this talking point even though a cursory glance at congressional history (and the Constitution) shows that the argument is completely baseless.

According to Republicans, Obama’s presidency is effectively over nearly a year before the end of his second term.

Even Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., admitted that Republicans are going into unchartered waters with their unprecedented blockade. The GOP has decided to stand by this “principle,” no matter how wrong-headed it is, in order to claim that their maneuvering has nothing to do with partisan politics.

But Sen. Jeff Flake today exposed that argument as nothing but an excuse.

The Arizona Republican said that the Senate should consider Garland in a lame duck session if Hillary Clinton is elected president, fearing that Clinton would appoint a jurist who is more liberal than Garland.

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican on the Judiciary Committee who is generally deferential on presidential nominees, said “yes” when asked whether he would move to confirm Garland in the lame-duck session if Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, wins in November.

“For those of us who are concerned about the direction of the court and wanting at least a more centrist figure than between him and somebody that President Clinton might nominate, I think the choice is clear — in a lame duck,” Flake said Wednesday after Obama named Garland.

Sen. Orrin Hatch also said he was open to a vote but only in the lame-duck session, and NPR’s Nina Totenberg has “learned that Senate Republicans have signaled via ‘back channels’ that they would approve Garland, but only after the general election in November.”

Flake’s suggestion shows the absurdity of the party’s blockade. If the GOP’s Supreme Court blockade was really about the principle that Obama’s successor should appoint the next justice, then Flake shouldn’t care whether President Clinton would appoint a more liberal figure than Garland.

And if the GOP really thinks that March 2016 is too late to consider an Obama nominee, then why would November or December of this year be appropriate?

Flake knows that the GOP’s stance is all about politics and that their “tradition” talking point is not only erroneous but also an attempt to avoid the charge that they are trying to play partisan politics with the Supreme Court.

Flake’s Republican colleague Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin made a similar admission when he confessed that the Senate would have considered a nominee in the president’s final year had that president been a Republican.

If it wasn’t, then he wouldn’t propose a lame-duck session to approve Garland’s nomination just in case a President-elect Clinton decides to appoint someone less to the GOP’s liking.

Ron Johnson's Revisionist History

Johnson's explanation for why he wanted to delay work on filling the 7th Circuit vacancy isn't consistent with the historical record.

Martin Sheen Calls Out Ron Johnson For Putting Partisanship Ahead of the Constitution

In a robocall released today by People For the American Way, Wisconsinites are hearing from Martin Sheen about Senator Ron Johnson’s obstruction of President Obama’s judicial nominees. The recording, which is being delivered to activists in Wisconsin, asks voters to contact Senator Johnson and demand that he fulfill his constitutional duty to give fair consideration to President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court.

“There’s no question that Senator Johnson is putting partisanship above the Constitution,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President at People For the American Way. “The Supreme Court shouldn’t be held hostage to the same partisan gridlock that’s brought Congress to a halt. Ron Johnson should stop playing politics with the law and make clear that he’ll push for the Senate to give fair consideration to President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. We’re thrilled that Martin Sheen is willing to lend his voice to this campaign, and we’re looking forward to working with our activists to hold GOP senators accountable for their obstruction.”

You can listen to the call here:

A transcript of the recording reads:

Hi, I’m Martin Sheen, calling on behalf of People For the American Way.

Our Constitution is very clear about what happens when a vacancy occurs on the Supreme Court. It says the President shall nominate a new judge, and that the Senate will give that nominee fair consideration.

As you’ve heard, Republicans are playing politics with our Constitution and with the Supreme Court. Senator Ron Johnson has said he doesn’t think that Congress should even give a fair hearing to anyone nominated by President Obama.

That’s irresponsible, and it puts partisanship above the law.

Call Senator Johnson at (202) 224-5323, and tell him you expect him to put his Constitutional duties first—and give fair consideration to President Obama’s nominee.

People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.


Paranoia-Rama: The Rapture, Jade Helm 15, And Gay Bashing Are Back and Racism Is The Fault Of Darwin

RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.

This week, the far-right still cannot let go of Jade Helm 15, the ever looming rapture, the true origin of racism, and a children’s movie gets political.

5. Belief In Evolution Causes Racism

We have found the culprit for racism, and his name is Charles Darwin.

Alex McFarlan, host of an American Family Radio program, recently appeared on TheDove TV to explain to those who trust the lies of science that belief in evolution is the root cause of racism in America today. Because the Bible teaches that the only race is the human race, it logically follows that racist individuals are getting those ideas elsewhere, McFarlane explained. “Evolution,” he said, “for about 75 years, has had a stranglehold on American education, and so the number one reason for racism is belief in evolution.”

McFarlan, apparently forgetting such things as the history of slavery in America, claimed that the Founding Fathers clearly knew all men are created equal and blamed “150 years of Darwinian evolution” for ruining this core American principle. 

4. The ‘Lego Movie’ Is ‘Insidious’ Propaganda Against Business Owners

Apparently, a concerted leftist propaganda effort has shifted cultural attitudes toward believing that “government is good and business is bad,” and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., is not going to stand for it.

The latest evidence for this effort is, according to Johnson, “The Lego Movie,” in which a Lego businessman is a bad guy attempting to destroy the Lego world for profit. But don’t let yourself think this is any innocent children’s film. According to Johnson, “That’s done for a reason. They’re starting that propaganda, and it’s insidious.”

Johnson continues with a heart-wrenching story of some leftist indoctrination of children he heard about while fundraising. He apparently “called a gentleman, it was a couple months ago, he was so upset, he took his children to an animated movie, six-andseven-year-old children, to an animated movie – and guess who the villain was? Evil Mr. Businessperson. It’s insidious. That propaganda starts very early.”

After a number of media outlets reported on Johnson's comments, he responded that he was surprised that people had “never encountered the idea before.”

3. Jade Helm 15 Evolves

The anti-government militia group Oath Keepers published an article on its website this week that offers a fresh take on the Jade Helm 15 conspiracy theory. The U.S. government, argues journalist Brandon Smith, created ISIS in order to manufacture a threat that will allow them to impose martial law.

Smith argues that “the organization known as ISIS has long been a collaborative creation of the U.S. government and its allies,” which will at some point attack the U.S., giving the government a “rationale” for imposing martial law, which they are preparing for with Jade Helm 15:

With at least 45% of Americans concerned that open domestic military exercises are a precursor to greater federal control over states and more than 62% convinced that government power is suffocating individual liberty, it is only a matter of time before the government spin doctors create a semi-believable rationale for such endeavors as Jade Helm. I believe that ISIS could be their perfect rationale.

As public concern is amplified and evidence indicating that the Department of Defense is lying about the purpose of JH15 is more widely recognized, the DOD may very well admit that the operation is not for training in foreign theaters. Rather, they may argue that JH15 is in fact training designed to protect Americans on American soil from widespread terrorist threats. That is to say, the new spin will be that Jade Helm is meant to save us all from the psychopathic child killing cannibal monstrosity known as ISIS.

Smith notes that this is all very similar to the plot of the 1985 Chuck Norris movie “Invasion U.S.A.”

2. The Rapture Is Near (Again)

The Rapture is here (again), and according to anti-gay Religious Right commentator Larry Tomczak it will look strikingly similar to the new blockbuster disaster film “San Andreas”.

Tomczak explains that “San Andreas” acts as a prophetic warning of the End Times, and is only a small portion of what humanity should expect to experience soon.

“Jesus gave warning also about pestilence and diseases," Timczak says. "Think about airborne Ebola and the porous southern border. Is it going to take another stock market crash, global economic collapse? All of these things are present day realities. Do we see the handwriting on the wall that we are at an apocalyptic unprecedented tipping point?”

Apparently this knowledge comes straight from the Bible. Tomczak adds that "the Book of Revelation, in chapter 9, says there will be a cataclysmic event that will kill a third of mankind. Now Jesus Christ predicted fearful events, a time of punishment, men's hearts failing them with fear and maybe believe 9/11 was our wake up call, but we've hit the snooze alarm." For Tomczak, "we need to awaken to the reality that America has forgotten God. We've drifted and it's time to turn back to him. The clock is ticking."

Tomczak is not alone in thinking this, as last Friday Anne Graham Lotz appeared on CBN to discuss her courageous efforts to save America from God’s judgement. Lotz explained that terrorism, natural disasters, economic problems, and social unrest are all warning signs from God that the return of Jesus Christ will happen within her lifetime.

Lotz, like Tomczak, believes, “with deep conviction, that it's my generation, I believe that in my lifetime, if I live out my lifetime, a natural lifetime, I believe I will live to see the return of Jesus in the Rapture when he comes back to take us to be with himself. Which means, preceding that, there are going to be some signs, there are going to be some warnings".

These signs will look much like the movie “San Andreas,” so beware.

1. Texas Flooding Due To Flood Of Gays                       

Texas is flooding. And Bryan Fischer knows where the blame lies: with those who are bringing “witchcraft and sodomy” into the state. Fischer agreed with a caller on his radio program yesterday who said that the only parts of Texas that are underwater are the parts “that are overrun with witchcraft and sodomy,” such as Houston, which has a “sodomite mayor.”

The caller claimed, "If God is judging Texas, it's because of the witchcraft and sodomy that we've allowed to run rampant,” and Fischer agreed that that was a very plausible explanation.

"If you're going to attribute the flooding in Texas to some kind of supernatural cause, you can make a geographical connection between the flooding and the practice of the occult and witchcraft and the embrace of homosexuality,” he said. “That's where the disaster is being felt the worse.” Just like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, which was also a localized natural disaster that "just wiped out those two cities where homosexuality had been embraced.”

So, “if you're going to make a case that there is some supernatural origin to this natural disaster that would probably be the place to look."

Right Wing Round-Up - 5/28/15

On the 7th Circuit, It's Time for Ron Johnson to Get Out of the Way

It is long past time to fill the nation's oldest appellate court vacancy, which has been open more than five years.

Rick Perry, Ron Johnson And Jeff Sessions To Join Anti-Muslim Activists At Florida Beach Resort Confab

FrontPageMag editor and increasingly unhinged anti-Obama yeller David Horowitz is hosting his annual “Restoration Weekend” for anti-Muslim activists at a beach resort in Florida this month. This year, Horowitz has recruited an impressive slate of Republican politicians, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, Oklahoma Rep. Jim Bridenstine to partake in the event’s offerings of golf, spa treatments, and Muslim-bashing.

Joining the GOP politicians at the Palm Beach weekend will be anti-Muslim activists including the Family Research Council’s Jerry BoykinJihadWatch’s Robert SpencerNational Review columnist Andrew McCarthy and, as Horowitz announced this weekend on Newsmax, far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders.

Conservative pundits Ann Coulter, Michael Reagan and Ben Shapiro will also be at the event, according to its website, along with FreedomWorks CEO Matt Kibbe, Heritage Foundation economics chief Stephen Moore and Wall Street Journal editorial board member Kimberly Strassel.

Horowitz organizes and funds the annual Restoration Weekend through his David Horowitz Freedom Center — attendees pay between $1,750 and $20,000, but the group’s most recent available tax return shows the 2012 event didn’t even break even. At past events, Horowitz has attracted GOP luminaries including Sen. Ted Cruz, former Sen. Jim DeMint, Rep. Steve King and Rep. Michele Bachmann. All apparently undeterred by their host’s record of anti-Muslim extremism, including accusing former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin and Republican anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist (whose wife is Muslim) of being secret Muslim Brotherhood agents.

In just the past year, Horowitz’s commentary has moved even further to the fringe. As the Justice Department launched an investigation of the shooting of an unarmed black teen in Ferguson, Missouri, this summer, Horowitz accused Attorney General Eric Holder of leading a black “lynch mob.” A day earlier, Horowitz said he was “sure” President Obama was secretly a Muslim because “he’s a pretend Christian in the same way he’s a pretend American.”

Such anti-Obama conspiracy theories have a welcome place at Horowitz’s Restoration Weekends. At last year’s event, for instance, Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona agreed with Robert Spencer’s statement that President Obama is either a secret Muslim or just acting like one:

Wilders, who has spoken at past Horowitz-affiliated events, including at least one Restoration Weekend, is currently on a U.S. tour that included lunch at the Capitol with Bachmann. Wilders, one of the most fiercely anti-Islam voices in Europe has compared the Quran to Mein Kampf and this year lost some prominent members of his own party when he targeted Moroccans living in the Netherlands to stir up support before the European elections.

Ron Johnson Says Scott Walker Is The Victim Of A 'Witch Hunt'

Fair, impartial, hard-hitting journalists like David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network know how to ask the tough questions…and by that we mean feed politicians the answers.

When Brody — who we have recently seen lavishing praise on GOP politicians including Ted Cruz, Chris Christie and Rand Paulsat down with Sen. Ron Johnson at this weekend’s Road to Majority conference, he effectively gave the Wisconsin Republican talking points to respond to the controversy surrounding Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s alleged illegal campaign coordination during the 2011 and 2012 recall elections.

“Do you feel like this is somewhat of a witch hunt?” Brody asked Johnson. “It seems to be interesting that this is a very complicated issue and I’m wondering, because you’re from Wisconsin, I thought I’d get your take on this.”

The senator — surprise! — responded that the embattled governor is indeed a victim of a “scurrilous,” “unconstitutional,” “political witch hunt” by prosecutors who are “abridging the right of free speech.”

“It absolutely is a witch hunt,” Johnson said. “They’ve dumped these documents — now I know it’s under court order — but you know they are calling it a potential criminal scheme. What it really is, it’s an unconstitutional scheme on the part of the prosecutors. I think the prosecutors are probably facing greater legal liability than anything.”

“We have basically criminalized political activity, we began to criminalize the exercising of free speech rights,” he added.

Wisconsin Marriage Equality Lawsuit and the Judicial Vacancy Crisis

In the Western District of Wisconsin, one of the two active federal judgeships has been vacant for five years.

Frank Gaffney Pushes Conspiracy Theory That US Had Foreknowledge Of Chemical Weapons Attack

Last week on Secure Freedom Radio, Frank Gaffney interviewed Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) about the crisis in Syria and asked him about a conspiracy theory, recently publicized by Rush Limbaugh, that the United States knew ahead of time about an imminent chemical weapons attack in Syria. As the story goes, Syrian rebels got hold of the weapons and staged the attack in order to give the US an excuse to intervene in the civil war.

Gaffney inquired:

One particularly troubling thing is we had just yesterday Rush Limbaugh among others picking up on a report by a former congressional staffer by the name Yossef Bodansky to the effect that a US Ambassador to Syria was in the company of rebels in Turkey shortly before the attack that took place on the 21st of August and was being told there was about to be a war changing event that would bring the United States in on the side of the rebels. I just wonder in light of the fact that some of these chemical weapons might have migrated into other hands, do you think we’re doing due diligence even to understand the authority of this claim that the administration has made that Assad was responsible for this attack? At the very least, it seems to me that question ought to be sorted don’t you think?

The radio host later claimed that “this is in fact, I believe, a formula for a war.”

Johnson didn’t directly respond to the allegations and only argued that Obama administration officials haven’t offered Senators enough time to review the evidence.

Tea Party Senators Kick Off Ralph Reed's Faith & Freedom Conference

Four of the Tea Party’s favorite senators – Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah, and Marco Rubio of Florida – addressed the kick-off lunch for this year’s “Road to Majority” conference, which is sponsored by Ralph Reed’s Faith & Freedom Coalition.

Rand Paul made his case for a humbler foreign policy, suggesting that anti-abortion “pro-life” advocates should also think about the lives of 18- and 19-year old soldiers sent abroad before applauding a politician who talks with bravado about pre-emptive wars.  He said that even when American soldiers go to war with the best of intentions, the law of unintended consequences can be merciless.

Paul told activists that there is a worldwide “war on Christianity” that is being waged not only by “liberal elites” but also by American taxpayers through the country’s financial support of countries that persecute Christians. “American taxpayer dollars are being used to enable a war on Christianity in the Middle East.”

Paul took the requisite political shot at Barack Obama, saying the "scandals" surrounding the administration were causing the president to lose his "moral authority" to lead the country.

Johnson said the root cause of the country’s problem was that too many Americans were either never taught or have forgotten the “foundational premise” of the country. The nation’s founders, he said, understood that while government is necessary, its growth is something to fear. “Far too many Americans,” he said, “are willingly trading their freedom and ours for the false sense, the false promise of economic security.”

Johnson said he would like Americans to take their disgust about the IRS, or Benghazi, or the NSA, and apply it in a broader way to the federal government.  He said people who talked about restoring trust in government have the wrong idea.  What we should do, he said, is foster a healthy distrust of the government.

Lee said conservatives had not focused too much on families, but too little.  He said conservatives have to have an agenda that includes “forgotten” families at the bottom rung of the economic ladder, policies that address the effect of stagnant wages, rising costs of housing, etc. He called for a new “conservative reform” agenda that didn’t seem all that new: tax cuts to encourage entrepreneurship, school choice, and welfare reform, as well as an end to “corporate welfare.” 

Lee said conservatives are opposed to big government because a small government encourages a healthy civil society. Conservatives, he said, aren’t about a “you’re on your own” philosophy, but rather a “we’re in this together” one. But in his take, “in this together” does not involve the government. Without an intrusive government, he said, communities and churches would take care of people. Remember, Lee is the guy who believes the welfare state is unconstitutional, along with restrictions on freedom such as child-labor laws.

Marco Rubio has taken some heat from some of his fellow conservatives recently for his advocacy of immigration reform.  Reed is on record supporting comprehensive reform, but talking points for the activists’ post-lunch lobbying on Capitol Hill reflect tensions within the movement.  While it talked about the biblical basis for a compassionate immigration policy, it also talked about the rule of law and a so-called “enforcement trigger.”  One of the talking points says, “Alongside our principles, we vehemently oppose amnesty and guaranteed paths to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently residing in the country.”

Rubio revisited his campaign theme of American exceptionalism.  He used a biblical passage from Matthew chapter 5 to encourage activists to keep bringing their faith into their political activism, especially, he said, at a time when people are told they should silence their faith.

Rubio expanded on the notion that Christians should be the “salt of the earth” and a light unto the world to take on the foreign policy portion of Rand Paul’s remarks, without naming Paul specifically. A call to retreat from the world, he said, is a call for America to hide its light, and there is no nation that can replace the U.S. and its example of freedom:

“Our light must shine so that others will look to us and give glory to our heavenly father.”

Rubio made a couple of references to protecting marriage, but none of the senators explicitly addressed the battle over marriage equality. Talking points for activists’ afternoon lobbying visits on Capitol Hill were clearer. “Public polling overstates the support for same-sex marriage,” claim the talking points “The American people have overwhelmingly supported traditional marriage in votes on state referenda and initiatives.”

Also on the lobbying agenda: asking representatives to support the House of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act, which would allow churches and preachers to engage in explicit electoral politicking without consequences for their nonprofit tax status.

Right Wing Round-Up - 1/23/13

Reince Priebus, Ron Johnson to Headline Dinner Hosted by Birther Alabama GOP Chair

Sen. Rand Paul isn’t the only prominent Republican hanging out with birthers these days. Next month, RNC chairman Reince Preibus and Wisconson Sen. Ron Johnson will travel to Alabama to headline a dinner hosted by state GOP chairman Bill Armistead. Armistead raised eyebrows last year when he publicly recommended “Dreams From My Real Father,” a “documentary” that promotes the alternate birther theory that President Obama somehow inherited a Marxist worldview from his “real father” Frank Marshall Davis. Somewhat unbelievably, Armistead stated that he had “verified that it is factual, all of it.”

Interestingly, Priebus and Johnson will be stepping into the middle of a fight over whether Armistead will keep his job. (He faces a challenger backed by his longtime rival, state House Speaker Mike Hubbard.) Charles Dean at the Birmingham News reports that Priebus might be attending as a political favored to Armistead:

Some saw Tuesday's late announcement by Armistead that Priebus had accepted the invitation to attend the dinner as a sign that maybe Armistead had convinced the GOP national party chairman to support him.

Late last week Armistead announced that he was supporting Priebus for a second term as Republican Party Chairman. So far Priebus is unopposed for a second term but rumors have persisted for months that a challenger might step up.

UPDATE: The RNC tells the Birmingham News that Priebus is not taking sides in the party chairmanship race.

Meet The New Freshman Class of Extremist Senators

In PFAW's latest video, we introduce the new class of right wing extremist Senators that have arrived in Washington.
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